Ray Wylie Hubbard, Billy Joe Shaver
South by Southwest Aftershots
Reviewed by Doug Freeman, Fri., March 23, 2012
Ray Wylie Hubbard, Billy Joe ShaverWhite Horse, March 14
There's something sublimely poetic in having Ray Wylie Hubbard and Billy Joe Shaver christen new Eastside hipster honky-tonk the White Horse on the opening night of South by Southwest. That significance certainly wasn't lost on the staff, taking shots behind the bar, nor the patrons, a rowdy mix of Festival attendees and locals. Nor seemingly on Hubbard or Shaver themselves, as both appeared to relish their late-night slots to play looser sets and banter slightly more ornery. Hubbard emerged with "Rabbit," looking like a Hill Country gypsy and with teenage son, Lucas, doing heavy lifting on the guitar for the quartet. "Snake Farm" and recent Hayes Carll co-write "Drunken Poet's Dream" set the bar early, muddy blues and drifter ballads washing the crowd, while striking cuts from his new The Grifter's Hymnal cleared it on "Mother Blues," "Train Yard," and "Count My Blessings." Billy Joe Shaver likewise hit hard early with "Georgia on a Fast Train," "Honky Tonk Heroes," and "That's What She Said Last Night," two-stepping the stage to his backing trio and rousing the crowd to a fury that sustained even through slower numbers "Live Forever" and "I'm Just an Old Chunk of Coal." Consider the White Horse baptized.